Robert Marsden

This article is about the character. For the WarShip bearing his name, see Robert Marsden (Individual Fox-class WarShip).

Robert Marsden
Also known as"The Crusher"[1]
AffiliationHouse Marsden
ParentsSimon Marsden (father)[2]
SiblingsAlistair Marsden[2][4]

Robert Marsden was a military leader, leader of the Protectorate of Donegal, and Archon Basileus of the Lyran Commonwealth.

Marsden was a decisive, practical, and stubborn man who held a hatred for poorly run organizations. He was nicknamed "The Crusher" for his cold-blooded cruelty.[5]



By 2375, the nation was experiencing an economic rollercoaster. Multiple archons, having same powers as each other, triggered economic woes and plunged the budget into the red. These problems caused chaos and recession. The people of the Tamar Pact threatened to break with the Commonwealth to file a peace treaty with the Draconis Combine. Skye and Donegal each had their own separatist movements, too. Marsden had enough, so he began a plan that would bring nation into order. Marsden began to secretly collect evidence of the other archons' illegal activities. In his younger days, Marsden had served in the Protectorate's armed forces and had friends who were still in the service. He contacted loyal, still active comrades and they began to form the core of a new military around the Commonwealth. He his next act was to take a tour of various worlds of the Commonwealth, ostensibly to see the nation's economic state. Marsden met with leaders who were critical of the current government's activities and convinced them to support him. He then placed members of his loyal staff in key communication centers throughout the Commonwealth.[6]

After the pointless meeting of the archons in August, Marsden waited until the other archons were in transit to their homeworlds. He then issued a public, Commonwealth-wide message to all the people of the nation. The messages listed the abuses and corruption of other archons. He then declared that he was forming a new parliamentary government and he claimed the title of Archon Basileus, the King of the Archons, for himself, making him the sole power of the nation. His announcement and the evidence he presented caused the public to be outraged and turned to support Marsden's new government. In December, Marsden was elected to the post of Archon Basileus of the newly formed Estates General.[6]

Archon Basileus[edit]

In his first official acts as Archon, Marsden imprisoned the former archons for life for corruption and crimes against the nation. He then submitted a document to the Estates General, the Articles of Acceptance. The treaty, written by Marsden, outlined the rights and responsibilities of each member world to the Commonwealth. Marsden had written rules and guidelines loosely, thus allowing each individual world many freedoms. A number of worlds signed the document, however, others, fearing the Commonwealth was moving away from its original intentions, hesitated and opposed the new government.[6]

Archon Marsden was faced with twenty-two worlds in rebellion by January 2378. He dispatched military forces to blockade many of these worlds into starvation, convincing them to give up their resistance. Eight self-sustaining worlds held out, however, including Skye and Tamar. He launched what was described as a bloody campaign against these rebellious worlds. Invading each of them, his forces crushed each of the rebellious planetary forces. This action did not leave Marsden with a good reputation, being given the nickname: "The Crusher." However, it did give his people what he wanted for them, a decisive government.[6]

For the next decade and a half, Marsden continued his reforms to revive the Commonwealth's economy. His efforts bore fruit when the Commonwealth became the leading exporter to the rest of the Inner Sphere. It also allowed the Commonwealth to establish lucrative contracts with the Terran Hegemony, allowing them access some its military information.[7]

As Archon, Marsden also expanded the Commonwealth's military, promoting those who were loyal to him. He recruited such people from supportive worlds and ensured his army's loyalty to him. With an increasingly robust economy, Marsden was able equip his military with the best equipment available. The bolstering of the Lyran military kept House Kurita from planning any major incursion into the Commonwealth.[7]

A depiction of Robert Marsden at his death


In 2395, Marsden casually commented that he wouldn't mind drinking a magnum of champagne from the House Marik world of Promised Land. Due to their bolstering and increased power, overconfident military leaders decided to act on the Archon's casual remark. The Archon heard of the mission far too late to stop the ten regiments of Commonwealth troops from the assault. The mission turned disastrous, with every single unit deployed for the Promised Land Assault wiped out. Instead of blaming their own impetuosity, the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces high command directed blame towards Marsden for "ordering" the disaster. Three weeks later, the Archon was dead, reportedly from a heart attack.[7]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Rumors of Marsden's cause of death swirled as soon as the news of his demise had been made public. Many refused to believe that the 44-year-old health nut with no history of cardiovascular disease fell victim to a myocardial infarction. Popular opinion fingered the High Command, upset by the Promised Land debacle. Only three weeks after Marsden's death, the Royal Arcturan Shakespeare Players surprised their dignitaries with a rendition of Hamlet. A number of officers who were members of the High Command were in attendance and left midway, furious at the implication the troupe made by putting on the play of betrayal and death. In 3067, personal letters written by Marsden to an unidentified woman surfaced. Due to the letters' racy content, it's believed that this was the reason Marsden's cause of death was covered up. However, the identity of the woman and the circumstances that led to Marsden's death have been lost to time.[7][8][9]

Robert Marsden had no children, just a younger brother, Alistair, who succeeded Robert as Archon.[10]


  1. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 11: "Dawning of the Age of War"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), foldout: "The Lyran Commonwealth's Line of Succession and Partial Steiner Family Tree"
  3. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 93: "Profile of Lyran Leadership"
  4. Field Manual: Lyran Alliance, p. 8
  5. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 13: "Marsden in Power"
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 13: "Marsden in Power"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), pp. 13–14: "Dawning of the Age of War"
  8. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 14: "The Play's the Thing"
  9. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 16: "The Junta that Never Was?"
  10. House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 15: "The Reluctant Archon"